Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Suits

Today was picture day. We were told to send the kids to school in their Easter suits. Check out my cuties....hopefully, mommy gets a picture. Last time, the little guy tried to bite his teacher and the big guy cried the entire time...but I mean, look at them, how can I stay mad!

Random Stuff

Last week was a super busy week. On the same day, I monitored the TELPAS test, trained on the SMART Board, and presented at Region 12. I was dog tired. I will share some of the things I shared:

Also, I am not sure where/how I came across this handout, but, it is a GREAT resource for ANY teacher. It is 44 pages long, so I probably wouldn't print it out. I used something like this when I taught. At the end of the school day, I reflected on if the strategy worked successfully or what I might want to try for next time. There are strategies for opening and closing a lesson, and everything else in between.

I also came across this page of tools to enhance/encourage collaboration. I mean, what a great site! So many here I had not heard of...

Here are a few other random sites I checked out (and liked) this past weekend...

Ipadio - it's like Gabcast but easier....
Thwapr - share videos to phones...plan on testing this with my iPod touches(?)
Free Audio Books - books you can download..plan on using with the iPod touches...

And I was looking for some more sites like Freeplaymusic and found these....

Free Music Archive (search by genre at the top)

On a personal note, we hung mini blinds and are actually seeing an end in sight at the new house. Mark, my husband, is having some trouble with the wiring of some of the switches because the house is just so darn old. Other than that, the good news keeps dad went today and cancer is still in remission....YAY! I plan on having my parents over for Easter dinner. Mom is bringing the ham, and I am to do the sides...anybody have a great recipe they want to share??? :)

Have a great week.....I am attending a session Wednesday over podcasting so watch for podcasting goodies to come!

Monday, March 22, 2010

SMART Board goodies and other stuff

I LOVE THE SMART BOARD! There, I said it. It was introduced to me this year and I must say, it was love at first site. There are so many things you can do with it. From movies to interactives, it is so much more than a board used with your projector. I have developed a training session for my teachers and placed the information on my wiki. Feel free to use/share with other SMARTBoard enthusiasts.

Today is a faculty meeting day. I have added what I plan on sharing to my website. I have pasted below the tools I hope to share...

1. Cool Iris - It's simply the fastest and most stunning way to browse photos and videos from the Web or your desktop. Effortlessly scroll an infinite "3D Wall" of your content without having to click page to page, whether you'e on Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Kodak Gallery, or any supported site. Or channel surf the latest news, TV episodes, movies, and music videos all from within Cooliris.
2. Livebrush - Livebrush is a drawing application. It employs an easy-to-use brush tool that reacts to your gesture. By combining simple motion controls with brush styles, Livebrush offers a fun and unique way to create graphics.
3. Word it Out - Simply enter some text and create your word cloud. You can keep your word cloud secret or share it. You can even embed it onto your webpage. The settings are also customizable.
4. Kaleidocycle - Upload your own photos and create a foldable cube. Create your own Rubix cube of review terms, images, etc.
5. Random - Check out the free random things you can do at this site. Play the coin flipper, dice roller, or card shuffler as a means of classroom collaboration.

On a personal note, I can now see my house as our home instead of rooms filled with boxes. I hung curtains, ceiling fans, and pictures over the weekend. It is amazing how these little things make your house feel like your home. We even ate our very first meal at the dining room table. For my own record keeping, I cooked a pork tenderloin roast, mashed potatoes, and bread. It finally is becoming our home. Pictures will be posted soon! Have a great week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Social Studies Resources

Do you or someone you know teach Social Studies? Are you looking for some new resources for your Social Studies classroom? Look no more... I am helping a coworker by presenting a session at Region 12. She teaches alternative certification for Social Studies teachers. She has about 57 in each class and they are looking for fresh ideas. So, I told her I could help. I am sharing these resources and letting them explore. Check them out!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monthly Tech Tips

I have been super busy with the house and boys off during Spring Break. Our new house doesn't have internet or cable yet so I haven't been able to post in awhile. So, not much new from the tech world. That being said, I will share some tech tips from the past. The 1st and 15th of each month, I send out a tech tip similar to Tammy Worcester's. These are for my campus (which is a 5th and 6th grade campus) but I feel are applicable at any grade level and ability. You can use these in your classroom or computer lab, in groups or during direct instruction.


ABCya! Fifth grade children's computer games and activities have large easy to use navigation buttons as well as simple instructions. Activities include addition, subtraction, counting money,keyboarding practice, and much more! Great in the Computer Lab or at the end of your class period.


Museum Box is a tool that allows students to place items in virtual boxes. These items can range from images, text, sound to video clips. Use these boxes for students to assess, investigate, debate, explore and develop ideas. The possibilities are endless!

To get a better idea of what a Museum Box is, check out these examples.

The Treatment of the Jews by the Nazis

Thomas Clarkson's Box



What is Storybird? Storybird is a service that uses collaborative storytelling to connect kids and families. Students can create a story all their own, or two (or more) people can create a Storybird in a round robin fashion by writing their own text and inserting pictures. They then have the option of sharing their Storybird privately or publicly on the network. The final product can be printed (soon), watched on screen, played with like a toy, or shared through a worldwide library. Check out this link to see a created Storybird and you can read more once you're at the website.



What is Virsona? Virsona is a tool that gives students and teachers the ability to create and "chat" with historical or fictional characters. I would envision it being used to research historical figures or talk with fictional characters. Instead of looking up information on that historical figure, students can actually "ask" the figure about themselves. To see an example visit this link to chat with Abraham Lincoln. If you set up an account (it's free and easy) you, or your students can create other Virtual historical figures as well or even a virtual you! I would even be willing to put in the information for a historical or fictional figure if you just get it to me.

Here is a link to a great lesson plan for Virsona. Students first research a Virsona that is already created and then they research their own figure and create a Virsona for that person.


Misc Creative Tools

Custom Tombstone Creator - Use this to create your own tombstone. Have students create a tombstone for a historical figure, a character from a story, a famous artist or musician, or a fictional person.

Newspaper Clipping Generator - Use this to create a newspaper article. Have students summarize a current event, an important event in Science or Math, part of a story, or a historical event.

Children's Book - Use this to create your own children's book. Have students create a story based on a writing prompt, an event or time period from history, or the life of an important person.

Kerpoof - Have students create a card, a story, or a picture or drawing....the possibilities are endless for this studio website.



Picnik is an online photo editing website that is similar to a software program like Adobe Photoshop. However, Picnik has a variety of advantages over a program like Photoshop. Advantages include: saved hard drive space (because it's web based), quicker processing time, easier to use tools (stamps/stickers/frames/text), updated themes according to the time of year, linking capabilities to sites such as Flickr, Photobucket, MySpace, Facebook, collage templates, and the fact that it's FREE (although there is an upgrade option)! This could be a great tool to use in your classroom or at home.

How do you sign up for Picnik??? YOU DON'T HAVE TO! You can actually just go to their website and start editing. Upload a picture from your computer or a photo sharing site and begin.



It's a dictionary! It's a thesaurus! It's a complete visualization tool! Visuwords is great resource for vocabulary development. You can see relationships, derivations, meanings, parts of speech, and read the vocabulary word in meaningful contexts.

You can zoom the term in and out by rolling the wheel on your mouse. You can click the gray background and drag the mouse in order to shift the whole term around so you can explore. You can grab any part and pull it away from the others to clarify connections and relationships.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Web 2.0 Playground

Today I am attending a session at ESC 12 over Web 2.0 tools. The company, worknsmartr, has neat resources for everything from video editing to virtual field trips. Here you can download their handout. I also am working on my session for Web 2.0 tools. You can view my stuff from my work web page. Have a great Monday!

Why a PLN?

I found this from @web20classroom on Twitter and loved it.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic